Martin releases illustrated backstory
NEW YORK — George R.R. Martin knows all the signs of Boba Fett Syndrome.
Named for the minor Star Wars character who fans demanded to know more about, Boba Fett Syndrome is most acute for any book or film series that’s become a phenomenon.
For Martin, this has meant not just the usual demands for the next A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel (he’s still working on it), but constant letters and emails asking for information on everything from dragons to Ae- gon Targaryen’s war against the Seven Kingdoms.
Martin’s new book, released this week, is The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones (Bantam/Random House Canada). It’s 300 pages of backstory and original artwork by the some of the world’s top fantasy illustrators.
He agreed to the companion volume in 2006 and expected it would take just a couple of years. Naturally, it took longer. He intended to write some brief text to accompany the drawings, but ended up setting down some 300,000 words, more than enough to make his editor’s “head explode.
“It was bigger than I anticipated,” he said recently, acknowledging The World of Ice & Fire might have delayed still further the release of the next Ice and Fire novel.
“I start these things that I think won’t take much time and they grow and grow.”
Martin said The World of Ice & Fire offers material already in the Ice and Fire series, material he has long worked out in his mind and on paper, but never released, and material he invented entirely for the book, such as the section dedicated to lands on the other side of the Narrow Sea. (Fans of Tyrion Lannister, be advised: Martin includes little about the character he’s called his favourite. He’s saving that for future books).
Time spent working on The World of Ice & Fire also means time spent on publicity. On Sunday, the resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico came to New York and appeared before hundreds of fans at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y.
Dressed all in black, he was interviewed on stage by Salon.com critic Laura Miller and responded to written questions from the audience.
Martin, 66, has completed five of seven planned novels: The most recent, A Dance With Dragons, came out in 2011, the same year the Emmy-winning HBO adaptation Game of Thrones first aired. A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Martin loved comic books as a kid and by high school had won an award for a superhero story. He’s been publishing books since the 1970s and began his Ice and Fire series in the 1990s, intending to write a trilogy.